When it comes to television, politics is not the monotonous beast many associate with real life. Whilst shows draw upon reality for pragmatisms sake, the golden era of television has seen politics born-again in many forms to world-wide approval.
Here are my top five political TV shows:
1. The Thick of It
Could I start anywhere else? The superb satirical masterpiece is the brain-child of Armando Iannucci, who used the show to portray a fictional tongue-in-cheek account of UK politics, focusing on government ministers and their staff. Characters such as spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) bring countless laughs through, let’s say, less-than politically correct language.
2. Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation stars Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), an overly-enthusiastic local government official in the Parks Department of Pawnee, a fictional town in Indiana. The shows undercurrent combines struggles faced by local government, such as turning a derelict piece of land into something worthwhile for the community, with the brilliance and charm of Poehler and company’s on-screen chemistry. Parks and Rec is readily available on Netflix, so go treat yo’ self to its genius, whether that’s for the first time or for a trip down memory lane.
3. House of Cards (US)
The Netflix remake of the BBC’s mini-series of the same name focuses on the politics of Washington D.C., following House Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) as they climb their way up the greasy pole of US politics. The drama is a serious and occasionally dark watch, covering issues of adultery, corruption, and murder. It is Spacey’s breaking of the fourth wall and general wit that takes the show beyond being just a political drama.
More of an alternative watch, the Danish drama follows Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) becoming the first female Prime Minister of Denmark and the struggles in the aftermath of her ascension. The critically-acclaimed show appeals to so many in part due to its isolation from mainstream global politics. As a consumer, any prejudgements simply do not exist in the same way that they may well have with the likes of House of Cards; you are able to appreciate the ride from a point of general ignorance.
The Showtime production follows Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), a CIA officer, and Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), a solider returned to the USA after being held captive by Al-Qaeda. Mathison battles with Brody’s potential defection to the terrorist organisation, addressing along the way her work-life balance (focusing heavily on her battle with bipolar), the metaphorical fall-out of Middle Eastern conflict, and such conflict’s significance to ongoing modifications in national security. The ongoing reality of Middle Eastern conflict forces the show to act as a genuine case study for underlying themes and trends, whether they be controversial or not.